Productive Pastor 24: Project Management 101

ProdPastor1

Welcome to Project Management month. This month we are going to focus all of the productive pastor content on project management. I have some great resources and interviews lined up.

The List:

10 Indicators You Have No Margin in Life: Charles Stone
Do you struggle with margin or need a wake-up call? This list of ten helps each of us self-diagnosis where we are on the margin scale.

The 5 Zeros You Should Achieve Every Day To Have Peace Of Mind: Timo Kiander
Many of us are familiar with the concept of inbox zero. In this blog post, Timo takes it a step further and shares what it looks like to really clean off your slate every day.

The Challenge of Setting Multiple Goals at Once (and how to actually do it): Belle Beth Cooper
Do you ever try to start 4 things at the same time. Usually I end up failing miserable when I do this. Here is why that happens and how to fix it.

Two Things Most People Miss The Most That Matter The Most

As we dig into Project Management 101, there are two things we really need to talk about. I strongly feel if anyone can get these two done well (or at least decent), they will have made much more headway than the average person.

1. Pre-Plan
The planning we do at the very first part of the project matters. It helps us define three things; the project, the goals and the timeline. To really do this well, I find it helps to always work through the same set of questions. Here is a great worksheet for you to use. You can download it free here.

The first secret to great project management is focusing on the clarity you will need to drive you throughout the project.

PP003: Project Mangagement Pre-Sheet by Chad Brooks

2. Brainstorm
Where clarity and detail matters in the first step, this is the step to go hog wild. I use post-its or notecards and write down every single thing that comes to mind. This isn’t the place to edit or restrain yourself. Just get down all of the ideas you have. Once you are at a stopping point, you can then use the items you came up with to help build a timeline.

Next Episode
On the next episode I interview Rich Birch, of unSeminary.com and the unSeminary podcast. I had a great time talking with him and it will be a great episode to learn from.

User Justin Gottleib (@jtgott) put together a GREAT text expander version of the worksheet I shared above. You can check out his blogpost and download the resource here.

Mentioned:
Why I Love Worksheets (and how I design them).

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

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Why I Love Worksheets (and how I make them)

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I live off of worksheets.

They are the single best productivity tool for me. I am a visual processor and organizer. I have used variations of them for the last year, but I became obsessed with them through my friend Bill Streger (Productive Pastor Interview) when he posted a picture of his on instagram feed. I immediately had to find out what it was and went crazy when I realized he made it himself in word.

For the last few years I have been using worksheets for plenty of projects. It started when I was designing 3-4 worship services a week. They served as a visual checklist to make sure all of the necessary elements where not only included, but worked well together. Then it turned into a way for me to systematically read and study scripture. I made one for doing basic level bible study as well.

Then I started my first sermon worksheet, which evolves every few months. I wrote a blog post on it here and share the most recent version.

I have around 15-20 worksheets I can use for many different projects. The latest was a package I put together for the productive pastor email list. You can get that one here as well.

So how do I make worksheets?

The larger question is what do I need to make worksheets for?

If I find myself doing something more than a few times and it either requires a visual layout or linear progression, it usually could benefit from a worksheet.

I start off making some sketches in my notebook and trying things out. This way I can find out what needs to be included, what needs more or less space and what the progression might be. I will do this over the space of 4-5 instances of use (could be daily, weekly or monthly). This refinement stage is one of the most important.

I am working on a S.M.A.R.T goal worksheet. Here is one of my beta versions.

I am working on a S.M.A.R.T goal worksheet. Here is one of my beta versions.

I use Apple Pages for all of my word processing. It has some pretty boss layout options so I settled years ago into a standard “grey box” format.

I will make a few different ones and use them for the same project. That way I can tell how I am using the data across different points. If something doesn’t work out well I mark a big red X through it. After I am done with the project I can look at how the worksheet worked and didn’t work. I then go back into pages and make a final version.

Finally, I print off a big stack. I keep a surplus of blank worksheets in my office. I find this helps them be a much better productivity tool. If you are having to print 1 out at a time it can be a drag.

I hope this encouraged you to think about using worksheets as well as got your creative juices flowing about making your own.

The Power of Self-Examination

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Have you ever had to check yourself out? I remember when I was a kid in Boy Scouts having to do a “tick check” on myself whenever I came back from the woods. It was a very necessary (while it lacked in gracefulness and modesty) part of returning home. I have probably done this hundreds of times and only found 2 or 3.

But I am pretty glad I found those 2-3. And yes, there is an entirely awkward story from early in my marriage about a tick check.

Think of the modern health care industry. All of us are instructed on several self-examinations for different types of cancer. We know it is up to us to take responsibility for our own long term health.

There is a different type of self-examination. St. Ignatius of Loyola is generally considered to be the go-to resource for Christian self-examination. He wrote an entire prayer book on the practice. In many ways, you can sum up what he said with this quote.

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I think self-examination is a practice we all need to take on and it is easier than we think. I want to share with you a little about why it matters and how easy it is to add it into your life.

Let’s talk about the power of self-examination

Self-examination matters because it is one of the ways we get into the critical issues of the heart. It means taking responsibility for “the self”. The Self is the critical part of our hearts where free will and response are worked out. Taming The Self is an act of sanctification. It is the mode (post-justification) where we are willingly giving ourselves up to God, allowing the tough work to be done by the Holy Spirit and creating a transformed heart.

Two things are happening when we take responsibility for The Self.

1. We are taking responsibility for the inward AND outward act of submission to Jesus

2. We are participating in the transforming life of God in the world. Our story then is added to the story of the world.

The easiest way to begin self-examination is asking ourselves tough questions. As a Wesleyan, it’s part of my own DNA. I wrote about this process of tough questions here | Beatles or Stones: Asking Ourselves the Tough Questions |.

Lately I have been asking myself the same question every morning for a couple of weeks. It let’s me really marinate it all in and get honest. It is interesting how my answer gets deeper and deeper every morning. I find myself growing tremendously inside and really changing my outward actions.

Here is my current question.

How have I contributed to the person I am today?

This questions lets me spread things out wide. I can think both positive and negative. I can take personal responsibility for my sinfulness and how I sometimes act out and respond from broken places. I can also look at how the hard work of sanctification has been playing out and recreating me into the image of Christ.

I challenge you to think of the tough questions you need to be asking yourself. It will be worth it. Trust me.

Resources:
Good Reads quotes tagged self-examination
Ignation Spirituality
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

 

Productive Pastor 23: How To Lose a Week (and not lose it all)

ProdPastor1

Ok listeners. It’s time to get into the big stuff. Not the easy, entry level time management, but the stuff of practitioners and productivity evangelists. This episode is about how to lose a work week and not lose your sanity. From time to time we all have to do it. The very fear of this is probably one of the reasons people in ministry don’t sabbath well. We are scared to be out of town because of all the work we might get behind on.

The List

Life Hacks of the Rich and Famous: Journl
I especially love the idea of rhythm and routine. It helps out tremendously when you are willing to delegate the tiny decisions to the same thing, habit or practice.

The New Habit Challenge: Make a Better To Do List: Rachel Gillett
This is a great blog post. Just making a to do list isn’t enough. Here is how to make the list actually work for you. I really like the idea of knocking out what you absolutely hate-but then building the momentum to get through the day.

How To Lose a Week (and not lose it all)

1. Know what you do.
This is wear a routine of weekly reviews plus a great template practice comes in handy. You can easily look at what you are regularly getting done so you can plan out your attack.

2. What can you NOT do?
Everyone has those tasks they think are absolutely essential. Let’s seriously think how many of those can’t get dropped or put off for the next week.

3. What can YOU not do?
This is a perfect time to start delegating. Try to hand off a task to someone just to see how well it goes. You might be able to teach them something as well as teach yourself something.

4. What can you work ahead on?
Having a production calendar and a preaching calendar are essential. When you know for a few weeks you are going out of town you can slowly work towards creating some time margin.

5. Can you squeeze in a little time while you are gone?
What about an hour in the morning or missing a session of the conference. If you plan to give yourself a brief moment of time you can take care of the absolute essentials or put out any fires.

6. Plan your reentry.
Think about what your first day might look like. Give yourself the space to actually accomplish what absolutely needs to get done that first day back.

Resources Mentioned:
The Four Hour Work Week
The War of Art

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

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My Biggest Takeaways from New Room 2014

Last week I had a great time at New Room, a conference sponsored by Seedbed and the Wesleyan Covenant Network. I was privileged to work with the team that became Seedbed in seminary, so my opinion and experience is a little biased. The several hundred people in attendance learned from great speakers and spent plenty of time hanging out, eating great meals and learning from each other.

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Here are my takeaways from New Room.

They are organized in three categories; Teaching, Social and Movement

 

Teaching:

Alan and Deb Hirsch: This wonderful couple challenged us all officially and unofficially. They were around hanging out and spending time with folks throughout the week. I had several chances to spend time with them and I think they are the most genuine high profile people in the world of Christianity I keep up with.

Alan and Deb are amazing at communicating high level information and practicality simultaneously. As a theory nerd, I totally jive with them.

Alan told us this statement in his closing session and it energized me more than anything else.

alanDeb also shared 6 crazy good incarnational practices. They were Presence, Proximity, Prevenience, Powerlessness, Passion and Proclamation.  As I am planting a new church, all 6 of these deeply matter.

Ed Stetzer: Ed is a Southern Baptist pastor and researcher. He is known for his work with Lifeway and a few great books. We joked a little about Ed being our token Calvinist at the conference (even though he isn’t).

Ed challenged Wesleyans and especially those in the UMC to get it together. He shared what our missional DNA is and how it is poised to greatly affect the west. One of the things he said which resonated was his emphasis on church planting. Any movement needs 3% replication each year to stay afloat. This means the Louisiana Annual Conference of the UMC needs to start around 15 churches a year.

Joe Dongell: Dr. Dongell was my IBS (not the disease, inductive Bible study) professor in seminary. I was geared up for his presentation and was disappointed at the lack of a whiteboard and his notorious green briefcase. (JK). Dr. Dongell really spread his wings out and offered us something he had been working through with great passion and surprise.

In the way only Dr. Dongell could have, he went through the entirety of Wesley’s works twice and extracted the core importance of Love to Wesleyans. He then reevaluated what Love actually is and challenged us to live in this way.

I also really enjoyed the two group conversations about church planting and the time with Maxie Dunham, Tim Tennent and Billy Abraham.

Social:

If you noticed many of my takeways came from day 1, it’s because I had an absolute ball reconnecting with people and meeting new friends. This is the genius of New Room. It is set up for connection and shared learning.

My hosts in The Threshing Floor also had a great time with listeners and recording a live episode with friends. I have never been to an event this large that was also as relational.

Having each attendee’s twitter handle on their nametag was a great idea. I met so many people I have been having conversations with for years. It was a special delight to finally meet a few friends I have become really close with online.

Movement:

If one word kept coming up, it was movement. But movements are a tricky thing. They have to be organic and owned. Here are a few things I think greatly contributed to the vibe.

Justin Wise, Phil Tallon, Jeremy Steele and Jessica Lagrone all had great presentations with amazing information. But the thing that stuck out to me across all four of their teachings was an excellence in modern communication. They understood how to actually use screens, integrated humor and personality and never distracted.

Mark Swayze, Mark Benjamin and Drew Causey covered the place with great music. We sung. A lot. And it was good. We learned new songs, sang old songs from our tradition and seriously felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think I have ever said that about a conference before.

The Environment. JD, Andrew, Andy and their team created a great environment. It was casual, interactive and encouraged conversation. I seriously can’t think of a thing that felt out of place. It was as much an influence as anything taught or sung.

I had a great time at New Room. I hope this is an annual event and I can’t imagine how it could get any better.

Productive Pastor 22: How To Destroy a Massive To-Do List

ProdPastor1

Have you ever almost shut down from the stress of loosing control of your to-do list? Don’t lie. You have. We all have.

In this episode of The Productive Pastor I share the 5 ways you can destroy a massive to-do list and set yourself up for future productivity success.

The List

1. 1 Big and Three Medium: John Zeratsky
I found this tweet back in July. It caused an interesting discussion as well as got my mind working. I have started doing this the last few weeks. This is a simple life hack.

2. 7 Things You Can Do on Friday to Make Monday Awesome: Kevin Daum
My wife always clears her desk at the end of a workday. On Friday, she even does more. It all goes into making Monday better. Kevin gives 7 great tips for you to integrate into your workweek to make next week better.

3. Achieve Your Goals by Focusing on Critical Activities: Harry Che
What is absolutely critical for you to do today? Most of us can’t answer that question. The secret sauce to hitting goals is to know what you need to do.

to-do list

How To Destroy A Massive To-Do List

1. Collect it.
These thing are sitting in your head and other places taking up emotional energy. Carve out some time and just get everything on paper. I prefer post-it notes and a sharpie. David Allen’s classic Getting Things Done talks about the benefit of the capture process.

2. Get it all in the same place.
Once you have a giant stack of post-it’s, start writing them down. You can do this in a digital document, but I prefer paper (it makes the next step easier). Don’t try to organize just yet.

3. Filter out what can die.
What has been dropped for so long the damage has already been done? What really doesn’t matter? What doesn’t move things forward and might have little to no benefit?

Let them die.

4. Categorize and rank importance.
What items on your list go together? Home, work, school, personal…there will be plenty. You will most likely even have some sub categories. I generally do this first level with a highlighter.

Once you have them grouped, start ranking them by importance. I prefer the Eisenhower Method. Start marking what is important and urgent. Those are your mission critical tasks.

5. What is yours alone and what can be delegated?
Delegation is a skill I am working on (I am currently between horrible and bad). Michael Hyatt’s work on delegation is the best I know of.

Toolbox
Last week my Dad emailed me. He is a great pastor and has been featured on the show before. He gave me advice he first heard from Bill Hybels. He told me “when your stress levels are high, up your solitude and exercise.” Let me tell you how much this has helped me the last few weeks!

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

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Productive Pastor 21: Sermonsmith and John Chandler

ProdPastor1

I have been waiting for this episode for months! I sat down with John Chandler, host and producer of the Sermonsmith podcast and learned from him. John interviews a different preacher on each episode and it is a wealth of knowledge about the craft of sermon preparation.

The List:
How I Prepare for Expository Bible Study or Preaching: Jeremy Sarber:
Jeremy is a listener and podcaster of his own. He runs a great blog and he shared this post with me. It is well worth your reading.

Create a Weekly Attack Plan: Art of Manliness
I came across this post in my feed reader one day. It is a great look at how one person handles an immense amount of creative responsibility as well as life in general.

Sermonsmith and John Chandler

John and I had a great conversation. I asked him these 5 questions.

1. What motivated you to start a podcast all about sermon preparation?
2. What has been the biggest common denominator in your interviews?
3. What was the most surprising thing?
4. What have you incorporated in your preparation and enjoyed the most?
5. What seems to be the usual pattern of preparation for your guests?

We had a great conversation and I hope you both enjoy it and check out Sermonsmith.

Mentioned
Sermonsmith.com

You can check out the archived Productive Pastor Insider where I shared my sermon workflow here.

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

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My Sermon Workflow

sermon workflow

Let me share with you the sermon workflow I have developed over the last few years. It has been extremely helpful and gives me plenty of time to work on sermons throughout the week and ALWAYS be done on Thursday. I then get a day off (Friday) without stressing about my sermon and an almost free Saturday. I started developing this system with the help of Preaching Rocket.

I do most of my sermon work the week of, with some pre-work allowing me to maximize my week of time. Here is what happens in this “pre” phase.

My Sermon Workflow
Before the week of:

I work on all of my sermons utilizing Evernote. I keep one note with a broad list of titles/scriptures/series ideas and anything else. Whenever a sermon makes it into the calendar, it get’s a note all to itself. If it is part of a series, the series gets a note as well. This way I can sketch out the big theme (and all the marketing, images and anything else) looking at all the texts/titles together.

The benefit of this system is huge. These notes serve as a dumping ground. Whenever I come across anything that might be useful, I can simply drop it into the note and forget about it.

When I am 2-3 weeks out from starting a series I start working through the big idea, getting the titles and texts organized in a good flow. I look through any potential resources. I also try to figure out the “big ideas” before I jump into weekly prep. All this allows the series to flow and interact well with the other messages. I didn’t always do this and it was pretty scattered.

Week of:

Sunday:
During my usual weekly review I finish with some light sermon prep. I read the passage a few times and pray through what I want to tell people and ask them to do. I start filling out my sermon worksheet (this is my secret weapon and you can get it for free here) at this time. It might just be a few details or it might be even farther out.

Monday:
During the morning I spend about 1.5 hours on my sermon. I do it pretty early in the morning when my creative juices are flowing. I read through the passage a few more times and ask questions of the text. I pray about what God is asking us to do at the end.

In the afternoon I take a final 30 minutes with the passage and my worksheet. At this time I want to have the first draft of my big idea done. All of the structural elements are completed (big idea, the ask and the intended response).

Tuesday:
This is exegesis day. I generally give around 3-4 hours to this task, usually in the afternoon. I read through the passage a few more times. If any words or concepts look really important I notate it down. I write down any questions I have as I read through the passage. If I feel the need to do any translation, I do it here.

After I feel I have spent a good bit of time in the text on my own I go to commentaries and dictionaries. I try to answer any questions I have, fill in some gaps for historical data and any relationships this passage has with others. I am just dumping any information that I think might help out. I use post-it notes for much of this and build a HUGE pile of them. Sometimes I have to chart out movements or other linguistic stuff.

I don’t organize any of this, just get it all in front of me. Once I am done with this process, I look back at my sermon sheet and get rid of any information that doesn’t help me support the big idea. I pray through this process as well. I have been known to trash my sheet and refill it out at this moment.

The last thing I do is make a narrative map of the sermon. If you are familiar with mind mapping-this is pretty similar.

Wednesday:
This is my main writing day. I usually give 6 hours to sermon work on Wednesday.

I start working through all of the information and organize it into a logical flow. I start broad and slowly start working my way down. The post-its come in handy because I can always rearrange things. I write down illustration ideas on their own post-it and put them into the workflow as well. I also start building my ideas for my images/slides. They get their own color of post-it and live above the larger timeline (I build this on the wall going horizontal).

Once I feel the shape is getting pretty good I write a draft. This draft is ROUGH. I usually immediately read it out loud to myself and fix the problem areas. If I need to get back into the text to make sure something isn’t just me saying it, I will go back and do it at this point.

After I have edited the first draft I will read it aloud to myself again this time. I notate any places change needs to happen. Usually, these are illustrations.

I draw out how my slides will support the sermon and aid the congregation in listening and processing.

Thursday:
Mid-morning on thursday I write my final draft. I look over any of the notes I made on the last draft on Wednesday. Sometimes I will preach it aloud again before starting on my final draft. After the final draft is complete I will read it aloud 2 more times. I will spend 30 minutes or so working on my slides. I will preach the final draft once more with the slides. I control them from my iPad (where my manuscript is also), so I can do this with just my laptop. No need to fire up the whole projection system.

I write the sermon preview at this point and put it up on my blog.

Usually this is done by 2 on Thursday afternoon so I can spend the rest of the day tying up loose ends before I take my day off.

Friday:
Nothing. I don’t touch my sermon.

Saturday:
My wife goes to bed early. After she hits the sack on Saturday I preach through my sermon 2 more times. By this point, I am familiar with it and this is simply a run through to make sure everything still makes sense. I do a very minimal amount of editing at this point.

Sunday:
I wake up at 5 on Sunday morning. I read through my sermon once, just a quick flow through to make sure it is on the top of my head.

I hope sharing my workflow has been helpful for you. It helps me preach better sermons as well as be mentally prepared to preach on Sunday. I am never worn out because of a late Saturday evening sermon session!

Related Posts:
My Sermon Planning Worksheet
My Favorite Resources for Modern Preaching
Teaching a Retreat? This is How I Plan

Productive Pastor 20: 5 Keys to Effective Sermon Preparation

ProdPastor1

Welcome to sermon preparation month!

In August I am focusing both episodes on sermon preparation. This is the topic I have been hearing about the most and I am want to share some great content with you.

The List:

For a More Ordered Life, Organize like a chef. Dan Charnas
In the world of cooking, the mise-en-place is a near sacred technique of chefs and line cooks of preparation. In this NPR article and sound bite, Dan shares how we can each incorporate these ideas into our own organization.

5 Reasons to take an Extended Preaching Break: Bobby Williams
Bobby shares his journey of over-preaching and the benefit of taking extended breaks from preaching at his church.

Using Evernote in Message Preparation: Bobby Wiliiams
Besides a Moleskine notebook, evernote is the tool I have heard more preachers refer to using. I use Evernote like crazy. Bobby shares how he sets up and uses Evernote to aid in his message preparation. This is a great beginners guide to using Evernote for preaching.

5 Keys to Effective Sermon Preparation

I remember when I first started preaching. There was no rhyme or reason to how I prepared. I just started typing with an empty document and hoped for the best. Later, I took a few notes from my bible and started at least working with a basic idea in mind.

Over the last several years I have put a pretty good rhythm into place. These are 5 essentials practices that I believe will help anyone’s sermon preparation.

1. Read.
That’s it. You have to be reading. Read many different types of writing; articles, magazines, the newpaper and online. Read books related or unrelated to ministry. You will be surprised how much material you begin building up in your head.

2. Have a Holding Tank.
Find a way to capture this information. I use Evernote and a Field Notes notebook. Between the two, I always have something with me. I organize evernote with three folders to keep me moving forward and specific notebooks and folders for sermons I am researching/writing and preparing.

Here is a great read from over a 100 years ago about the benefit of keeping a preaching notebook.
The Growing of a Sermon.

3. Have a Preaching Calendar.
This is the best way to stay ahead and make sure you are preaching the whole counsel of God. It also is a huge help to the folks who assist in worship.

Productive Pastor 17: Why You Need a Production Calendar

4. Ask Others
Asking other people what they need to hear from church and letting them in on the preparation and visioning part of sermon work will not only be a help to you, but teach others about the holy act of preaching and preparation.

The Social Church Webinar

5. Find/Build and Stick to a preparation rhythm.
This is one of the hardest, but most rewarding practices. Learning to get this built into your weekly schedule will transform your sermon preparation. It will keep you on task and getting done early in the week (no one likes to write a sermon on Saturday).

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Resources:
My Sermon Planning Worksheet
My Favorite Resources for Modern Preaching

On the next episode we will have John Chandler, of Sermonsmith, as our guest. He has interviewed dozens of preachers about their preparation process. It will be great.

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

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My Ultimate Recommendation List

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People ask me frequently “What do you recommend for…” I decided to curate a list of my favorite recommended resources. Some of these are free, some of them cost a little bit and others are a serious investment. However, each of these are things I have purchased, used and consider essential to ministry.

I plan on adding to the list when I come across I resource I recommend in many different situations.

My Ultimate Recommendation List

Books
Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley
I wrote off Andy Stanley for years. And I will eat my own shoe now. This book is an incredible story about what it takes to lead churches unchurched people love to attend.  Part of it is the story of Northpoint and the story of what what led Andy to start Northpoint. Through this story, the reader sees the vision and values of leading a church in both excellence and evangelism.

Church Unique: Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement by Will Mancini
I think this is the book that changed everything for me in ministry. There was a time when I was hesitant towards any contemporary idea of purpose/vision etc. After reading this, I realized how wrong I was. It is absolutely essential any leader have a clear idea of where they are going and the ability to lead people along with it. Anything else is just shooting from the hip.

The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day: John Maxwell
Here is yet another book/resource I swore I didn’t need. This is the single best personal leadership development book I have read. It is a 5 day a week devotional all focused on building biblical leadership skills. My Dad tried to get me to read John Maxwell for ages and I refused. I am currently reading through it a 2nd time and I love it even more. This book sharpens anyone skills while growing them closer to the Lord through scripture, prayer and reflection.

Slideology by Nancy Duarte
Nancy Duarte is the master of modern visual storytelling and presenting. This book talks about to creative effective visual presentations people will want to learn from. I used this when I had to shift my preaching from just listening to a multi-media based sermon style. It was a life saver.

Desiring the Kingdom by James K. A. Smith
I believe there are only a few books that adequately describe the theological situation of American postmodernity. This book is possibly the best. Smith asks questions about what truly motivates us and how the church is forming the idea of “the good life” in the heart of every person.

 

.PDF’s/eBooks
Leadership andChurch Size Dynamics by Tim Keller
I recommend this .pdf to people at least once a week. I think it is essential reading for anyone in church leadership. If you are a pastor, staff member or volunteer leader, you need to read this.

Resonate by Nancy Duarte
This book used to cost money! I have actually bought it in three different formats, but now she has released it as a free online tool. The online version is an amazing learning experience, but if you want to go old school you can buy a paper copy on Amazon.

One New Thing by Darren Herbold
This .pdf features 11 church leaders answering the question “What is the one new thing that has helped your ministry excel over the last year?” The answers are golden and it is a tremendously helpful read. You can get the file for free in exchange for your email address. It’s worth it.

 

Podcasts
This is Your Life by Michael Hyatt
Michael Hyatt is the Godfather of modern podcasting. I have gone through seasons where I don’t listen to his show regularly, but then I binge on a trip and listen to 6 in a row. I think I have learned the most from Michael, more than any other podcaster, and I am thankful for his continued production.

Sermonsmith
If you preach frequently, you rarely get to interact with other preachers. This show interviews preachers from around the country about their process of preparation. Every episode is different, yet familiar.

 

Websites/Blogs
Seedbed
Seedbed is a publishing house, website and center of a new Wesleyan movement. I am honored to be part of the larger seedbed family and they consistently put out great content.

99u
99u is part of the Behance/Adobe family and is a great website on creative thought. They write about productivity, the process of creation and what innovation focused movement looks like. I read it every day.

Carey Niewhof
Carey is the pastor of Connexus church near Toronto. He writes several times a week and his posts always hit the nail on the head. He has a great view of current culture and innovative leadership.

 

Programs/Member Sites
These are a relatively new resource online. They are rarely free. I have found the investment is worth it. Most give a free trial for you to check things out.

The Rocket Company
The Rocket Company focuses on training church leaders for best practices. They are based in Atlanta and I love their products. I have purchased most of them and they have always been worth the money. The Rocket Company is best known for these products;
Preaching Rocket (I’ve wrote about Preaching Rocket here and here)
Giving Rocket
Volunteer Rocket
The Systems Bundle